#CFCOVFL PLAYOFF PREVIEW: Warriors to employ sense of urgency against Jr. Mustangs

After edging out the Niagara Spears in the final game of the regular season, the varsity Mississauga Warriors of the Ontario Varsity Football League (OVFL) prepare themselves for their playoff match-up against the London Jr. Mustangs.

Although the Jr. Mustangs were able to defeat the Warriors in Week 1, Head Coach Curtis Rukavina expects things to be different this time around.

“I think we got the right mix of guys, the team has come together at the right time and overall, the team is playing more sound football,” said Rukavina.

The Warriors have displayed a lot of grit and resolve in the last two weeks, as they are coming off back-to-back victories in which they trailed by double-digits.

Rukavina believes that if the team keeps playing from behind, eventually someone will take advantage and will deny the Warriors a comeback.

“You’re eventually going to meet a team that is not going to let you out of it” added the Warriors Head Coach.  “They are just going to be too good, too disciplined, and too strong.”

“We’re going to have to change that up because we won’t be able to get out these 17-point holes much longer.”

In order to combat the slow starts the Warriors have faced the last two weeks, Rukavina believes the players need to simplify the game, relax, stop thinking so much and play the game the right way.

The Warriors coaching staff know the importance of this game and want that message to be relayed back to the rest of the team. With every game from here on out being a single game elimination, Rukavina wants the team to approach the wildcard game against the Jr. Mustangs with a sense of urgency.

“The next game is the most important game,” said Rukavina.  “This is something that I try and instill in these kids.”

“In order to be successful, they must leave it out there on the field. Whatever the outcome, celebrate the win or mourn the loss, but don’t short change yourself.”

During the regular season, the Warriors wore out their opponents with their speed and athleticism. The Warriors plan on continuing to employ their style of play against their opponents on Saturday.

“We don’t want to get into positions where we set our guys up for failure,” added Rukavina.   “If speed and athleticism is our thing, well let’s ride it out.”

“Let’s get our guys doing what they do best and win those match-ups.”


Warriors Rukavina vs Niagara

Although the playoffs will officially begin this weekend in the OVFL, the Warriors feel they have developed a playoff mind state already over the past few weeks, due to the fact they had to fight just to get into the playoffs.

Heading into this game, Rukavina feels the Warriors are prepared mentally and physically to embrace the challenge their opponent will bring.

“It has been the post-season for us the past two weeks,” said the Warriors Head Coach.  “For us, this is playoff game number three.”

“This is not a new situation for us. That whole intensity and emotion, we’re going to ride with it as it has been one of our driving forces the past couple of weeks now.”

The Warriors believe that through their experiences over the past two games they will possess a heightened sense of intensity and urgency needed for the postseason.

With the regular season being as short as it is, it would be easy to overlook certain traits a team possesses. However, Rukavina is quite aware of some of the qualities his team holds and is very proud to guide this group into the playoffs.

“This team has got resolve and they got some dog in them,” added the Warriors Head Coach.  “These kids they don’t quit.”

“They ride with emotion and this is a close group of guys.”

Rukavina has witnessed this team back each other and fight for one another when challenges present themselves. Rukavina is also quite pleased with how his players hold each other accountable, not to demean each other, but to encourage each other in order to get better.

“When your peers are letting you know what’s up, I think you listen a little more,” said Rukavina.  “With that, these guys are responding with their play on the field.”


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